Gerald J. Ford Stadium is a stadium in University Park, Texas, one of the two "Park Cities" that form an enclave within the city limits of Dallas. The stadium is used primarily for football, and it is home to the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs and is frequently used for local high school football games. It was the last on-campus stadium in NCAA Division I-A (now Division I FBS) to open in the 20th century.
The building stands on the site of the former Ownby Stadium, the school's previous on-campus football stadium. Ownby was demolished starting in late October 1998 in order to clear the land designated for the new stadium. Ford Stadium opened on September 2, 2000 with a football game against the University of Kansas. The north-south oriented stadium is bowl-shaped, with stands on three sides (west, east, and north). SMU can one day develop south side seating, extending the stadium's seating capacity to 45,000.
The stadium is named after Gerald J. Ford (who should not be confused with former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford), a billionaire banker who provided most of the funding for its construction.
Outside the northeast corner of the stadium is Doak Walker Plaza, honoring the former Heisman Trophy winner and SMU's greatest football star. The plaza includes a life-sized replica of the Doak Walker Award trophy, awarded annually to the nation's top college football running back. The northwest corner is connected to the Loyd All-Sports Center, which contains locker, training, and office space for SMU athletics, as well as the Spirit Shop, the office of the Alumni Association, and the Athlete Education Center.
On September 24, 2010, the regular season attendance record was set at Gerald J. Ford Stadium when 35,481 people watched the TCU Horned Frogs face off against the SMU Mustangs. TCU won the game, 41–24. The overall attendance record is set at 36,742 for the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl between SMU and the Army Black Knights.
On September 15, 2007, the Gerald J. Ford Stadium hosted one of the rare ‘#1 vs. #2’ matchups in high school football, as Miami Northwestern beat Southlake Carroll 29–21 in front 31,896 fans and an ESPNU audience.